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Department of Computer Science 


Sulis soft

Empathic Painting
Interactive stylization using observed emotional state

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In Proceedings 4th Intl. Symposium on Non-photorealistic Rendering and Animation (NPAR 2006)
pages 87-96, June (2006). ACM Press. ISBN:1-59593-357-3.

Maria Shugrina
Computer Science Department,
University of Boston,
Boston, USA.
Margrit Betke
Computer Science Department,
University of Boston,
Boston, USA.
John P. Collomosse
Department of Computer Science,
University of Bath,
Bath, U.K.

A user interacts with the empathic painting      Still-life oil (bananas)


We present the "empathic painting" - an interactive painterly rendering whose appearance adapts in real time to reflect the perceived emotional state of the viewer. The empathic painting is an experiment into the feasibility of using high level control parameters (namely, emotional state) to replace the plethora of low-level constraints users must typically set to affect the output of artistic rendering algorithms. We describe a suite of Computer Vision algorithms capable of recognising users' facial expressions through the detection of facial action units derived from the FACS scheme. Action units are mapped to vectors within a continuous 2D space representing emotional state, from which we in turn derive a continuous mapping to the style parameters of a simple but fast segmentation-based painterly rendering algorithm. The result is a digital canvas capable of smoothly varying its painterly style at approximately 4 frames per second, providing a novel user interactive experience using only commodity hardware.

Download Paper

The paper may be downloaded as:     .pdf

Additional high-resolution paintings are available by clicking on these thumbnails:

dragon   Still-life bananas   Big Ben

Sample Interactions

A development video showing user interaction with the empathic painting is available:     .avi (XviD)

Video playback
To play XviD encoded videos you need to install the XviD codec (download codec here)
A higher quality, but very large, uncompressed/raw video is also available.

These snapshots indicate anger, despair and cheerful emotional states - click on the paintings to view a close-up.

Interaction Interaction
Interaction Interaction
Interaction Interaction

Further Information

Please contact John Collomosse by email.